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The Skeleton Key (2005)



Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 148
Fresh: 55 | Rotten: 93

Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 28

Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 191,232

My Rating

Movie Info

A young woman discovers a terrible secret while caring for an elderly man in this supernatural thriller. Caroline (Kate Hudson) is a care provider for the aged who is hired away from the hospice where she works by Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands). Violet needs someone to help take care of her husband, Ben (John Hurt), who is in poor health and doesn't have long to live. Violet and Ben live in a decaying rattletrap mansion not far from New Orleans, and as she settles into her work, Caroline


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Ehren Kruger

Nov 15, 2005


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All Critics (161) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (55) | Rotten (93) | DVD (24)

This is a moody, creepy thriller with some genuinely scary moments and a couple of twists that took me completely by surprise.

August 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Skeleton Key delivers on all formulaic counts, except one: It never serves up any truly nightmare-inspiring scares.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A diverting, stylish thriller that, despite pivoting on that and other whoppers, deserves credit for creating an authentic, original vibe.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is essentially a haunted-house horror flick that starts off with effectively eerie scenes but devolves into a forced and mildly ridiculous ghost story.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Criminal waste of talent.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's lots of bad stuff brewing on the bayou in this occasionally scary but more often silly movie, which wastes some good actors along the way.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The only real mystery ... is what is this great ensemble cast doing in such a poorly executed movie?

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The voodoo lore is sketchy (it can't hurt unbelievers, except when it can), the plot obviously little but build-up to the big reveal.

October 31, 2007 Full Review Source:

Reinvigorates the supernatural thriller genre with a much needed infusion of new ideas and just plain nasty, digital-free mischief.

March 31, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

A paint-by-numbers supernatural thriller that's more interesting for its locations than for its story.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Pretty much what you would expect from the screenwriter of disappointing films such as Scream 3, Reindeer Games and Arlington Road.

October 11, 2006
Christianity Today

Es predecible y soporífera, llena de clichés y lugares comunes, sin lograr crear nunca la atmósfera adecuada para que el espectador logre una conexión emocional

November 26, 2005

Unlocks a mystery, but the journey is fraught with the familiar.

November 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Its ultimate twist is both admirable and startling, making this savory gumbo worth a nibble.

October 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

The film's lush atmosphere is a thin smokescreen to hide the fact that its formulaic underpinnings prevent it from approaching anything that is truly scary or unsettling

September 9, 2005 Full Review Source:

The Skeleton Key is one hoodoo of a movie--literally. It's a movie about hoodoo, voodoo and cheap thrills set in a Louisiana backwater.

September 1, 2005
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

An intriguing and eerie film that becomes more chilling every minute

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A Nightmare with Mr. Kruger

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Snobs
Film Snobs

A blundering New Orleans-set thriller under the spell of archaic stereotypes about Southern Bayou blacks.

August 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

That old black magic is back in theaters this summer, bottled up in a frightful delight that just might rattle your bones.

August 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

O que me leva a recomendar esta produção é seu desfecho - uma conclusão que respeita a lógica interna da trama.

August 25, 2005
Cinema em Cena

There are enough surprises to let you leave the theater mostly satisfied, if not exactly transformed.

August 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Style Weekly (Richmond, VA)

Here, take your worst-director prize from the Joe Bob Briggs Drive-in Movie Awards and don't let us catch you filming Kate Hudson topless, from behind, ever again!

August 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Interminable from minute one...

August 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Now you've heard about the twist's not giving anything away to say that there IS one, and it's a doozy.

August 20, 2005
Greenwich Village Gazette

The intended surprises aren't all that surprising.

August 19, 2005
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Audience Reviews for The Skeleton Key

If someone likes occult stuff, this is a right thing, there is a tiny bit of everything.
Skeleton Key is one of the greatest Mystery/Occult Movies I think.
May 21, 2013
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

Scary movie. I spent most of the movie trying to figure out who the bad guy was and how was it going to end? It didn't end the way I figured it would.

Pretty bad. I watched this movie again five years later, and it still did not end the way I figured it would (I had forgotten that I had seen the movie already)
February 2, 2013

Super Reviewer

Decent enough horor/thriller
June 6, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Caroline Ellis: I'm going into town for a while. Shopping.
    2. Violet Devereaux: For what, Caroline? Caroline! For what?
    3. Caroline Ellis: You'll just have to see.
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (11 months ago)
    1. Caroline Ellis: I saw the room.
    2. Violet Devereaux: What room?
    3. Caroline Ellis: The room you said you've never seen.
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (11 months ago)
    1. Violet Devereaux: Caroline!
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (20 months ago)
    1. Caroline Ellis: I don't believe!
    – Submitted by Nick P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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